Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Wednesday’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC) as he continues to recover from an injured right hand.
On Tuesday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was encouraged by the progress Herro has shown, but made it clear Herro’s status for Game 3 was unknown at best.
“I don’t want to be Nostradamus right now. We’re taking it one day at a time,” Spoelstra said. “I know that sounds like a cliché. He did the practice with the group … we’ll meet with the training staff later on today and probably tomorrow, and we’ll just continue this process. He has not been cleared yet, so that’s where we are, but we’re encouraged by the work that he’s been doing.”
Spoelstra also said the team put him through a contact workout on Tuesday to see where he stands in his recovery from his broken right hand.
"We're taking it one day at a time. … He has not been cleared yet, so that’s where we are, but we’re encouraged by the work that he’s been doing.”
Heat HC Erik Spoelstra on Tyler Herro pic.twitter.com/APVtVYeW22
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 6, 2023
Erik Spoelstra says Tyler Herro "has not been cleared yet" for a return. The team will put him through a contact workout later today to see where he stands in his recovery from his broken hand.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) June 6, 2023
Herro reached the six-week mark in his recovery Friday from what the team called “open reduction and internal fixation surgery of the third and fourth metacarpal of his right hand,” but the club ruled out the 23-year-old for Game 2 of the NBA Finals, which Miami won 111-108.
Since breaking his hand in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Herro has been relegated to offering his teammates support in conspicuously gaudy outfits — topics of much conversation — from the sidelines.
When Herro underwent surgery to repair his broken right hand on April 21, the team disclosed that the guard would miss a minimum of six weeks. He was cleared to resume basketball activities on May 23, but it was unclear when he would be able to return to the floor.
“He’s another guy that provides so much shot-making, playmaking ability,” forward Kevin Love said Tuesday. “You saw in Game 1, we got cold from the 3-point line, didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from the field. He’s just one of those guys that provides so much firepower.”
Ahead of the team’s 104-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 1, Spoelstra stated the shooting guard is “not there yet.”
Still hobbled, Herro certainly put in work on the court behind the scenes to get there.
After most of the Heat vacated Denver’s Ball Arena at the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice, the guard reportedly participated in an extra session working to test the injured hand with the intention of rejoining teammates in live action as soon as possible. The guard participated in the team’s Saturday workout, too, in addition to grinding through similar sessions in Boston during the team’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics.
Herro has been sidelined since April 16 after suffering the hand injury during Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks. Yet, Miami’s offense hummed without him over the first 14 games of the postseason.
The Heat averaged 114.9 points over that span, connecting on 48% from the field with Jimmy Butler producing 29.9 points per game on 51.1% from the floor. Miami ran up a record of 11-3 over that timeframe with Herro playing just 19 minutes in Game 1 of the opening round.
The Heat seemed to hit a wall since then, offensively anyways, averaging 99.0 points on 43.6% from the field, as Butler’s scoring dipped to 21.6 points per game on 39.4% from the floor over the team’s last five outings.
Miami’s 93 points in Game 1 represented a season-low in scoring, as Max Strus, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin combined to contribute six points on 2-of-23 shooting. While Martin struggled in Game 2 (three points in 21 minutes off the bench), Strus, Robinson and Gabe Vincent stepped in nicely. Vincent (23 points) and Strus (14 points) were solid as starters, while Robinson (10 points) proved crucial in the fourth quarter.
A fourth-year veteran, Herro averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists during the regular season as Miami’s No. 3 scoring option behind Butler and Adebayo. Since Herro’s injury, the Heat have deployed four different combinations of starters over 18 games including one lineup that accounted for Butler missing Game 2 of the East semifinals due to a sprained right ankle.
Since returning from that ankle injury, Butler has averaged 23.7 points over the last 12 games, hitting 41.9% from the floor and 30.3% from range after averaging 35.5 points over his first six appearances this postseason.
Information from The Associated Press and NBA.com’s Michael C. Wright was used in this report.